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A Day in the Life of a Student

Of all the questions we get asked, one of the most common is "What is life at a UWC actually like?" On this page, we will aim to answer that question, with a typical day at a few UWCs around the world.

United World College of the Atlantic, South Wales

Morning: "I get up at 7am in my college house, and head downstairs to the shared kitchen to make a cup of tea. I sit and chat with one of my house-mates who has been on the phone to her family (different time zones mean that students will be on the phone at all hours!) Together we go down to the castle for breakfast."


Classes: "At UWC Atlantic College, we call classes "codes". My first code this morning is English, where we are preparing to start our upcoming World Literature essays about texts which have been translated from other languages. After a coffee break, my second code is Chemistry, where I am writing up a practical for IB coursework, followed by History, Maths, and then a Theory of Knowledge lesson. In TOK we are doing presentations about various topics - today one of my classmates presented about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and how it was reported in the media."


Afternoon: "After lunch I head to a quick meeting with my History teacher about my Extended Essay, in which I am writing about the effect of post-war immigration in the UK. Then I quickly run outside to meet the van which will take me to an afternoon community service session at a local care home. I have made great friends with a lady there and we have a chat over a cup of tea, and look at some of her old photo albums. On other days, I might lead music sessions for all the residents, or run a quiz."


Evening: "I catch up with some of my friends over supper, where we make plans for a weekend trip to Cardiff to go to the cinema. I then head to a student council meeting - I am a house representative, which means that I have to raise issues at the meeting and report back to my house. We mostly discuss plans for an upcoming street theatre performance. Finally, I go over to the house of one of my Chemistry classmates and compare notes on the practical we did together over a cup of tea. Then it's bedtime - I need an early night as I have a swimming session first thing tomorrow morning."


Pearson College, UWC of the Pacific, Canada

Morning: "I wake up at 6.30am and head down to breakfast - at Pearson College, we take turns to help out in the kitchen and I am on breakfast duty today. It is very tiring but it is a great chance to get to know some of the kitchen staff and feel a real sense of community. We are all expected to help with keeping the campus clean and organised."


Classes: "My first class of the day is Marine Biology. At the moment we are studying the role of plankton in marine ecosystems, and are preparing for our "Group 4 Project" which is a collaborative study between a group of students on a scientific topic. Next I have a French class, during which I have to practice speaking about the news and current affairs. Luckily, my room mate is a fluent French speaker, so I get lots of opportunity to practise! Then I head to Maths, Economics, and then lunch. After lunch I head to Visual Arts class, where I am designing some outfits for an upcoming sustainable fashion show."


Afternoon: "In the afternoon, it is time for CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) activities - today, I am leading a dance workshop for some first-year students. Afterwards, I have a meeting with my Human Rights Activity Group to plan our upcoming Project Week - we are planning to run a week of activities in local elementary schools on the topic of human rights and inter-cultural awareness."


Evening: "After supper with a friend, I head to my documentary filming activity, where I am learning how to film and edit. It is one of my dreams to become a documentary film-maker, and this is the perfect way to practise. I am hoping to film our work over Project Week. After this, I head back to my house to do some reading for English - I am studying a Shakespeare play, and it's difficult but rewarding work. Before bed time, I meet one of my friends for a leisurely walk around our campus. When you are here every day, you forget how beautiful it is. I have to find time to appreciate it!"


Mahindra United World College of India

Morning: "I wake up at 6.30am and have time for a short walk across the campus in the early morning before it gets too hot. The campus is on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley, and the views are amazing! Next, I enjoy a quick breakfast before classes start at 7.30am."


Classes: "My first class of the day is beginners' Hindi - all students have to learn a little bit of Hindi, but I chose to continue learning it as part of my IB. I think it is really important to learn the local language to help me communicate with the outside community, and it will be helpful when I go travelling around India at the end of term. Next it's Maths, followed by Economics, and finally Theatre, where my class is preparing a performance of a traditional Indian folk tale."


Afternoon: "After lunch, it's time for service and activities, which at Mahindra is called the Triveni Program. I volunteer every week in the local village at a school, providing help to English teachers. It is great fun, but it's also a lot of responsibility and I spend this afternoon with a few classmates preparing materials for the next week of volunteering. As it starts to cool down in the afternoon, I head to the campus garden to read my book and relax."


Evening: "This evening, the students from Latin America are putting on a show of traditional music and dance, and have invited many of the families from the local village to come and watch with us. The music is fantastic, and we eat traditional food to compliment the performance. One of the families from the village is my "link family" who I visit regularly, and it is nice to see them and to practice my Hindi!"